© Brenda Joy

Winner, 2014 FAW North Shore Vibrant Verse Poetry Competition, NSW.

The raw sienna, bleached expanse,
   the sea of sun-seared land,
      is punctuated by a tiny blotch.
         The road is just a line
            where markers tell the time
               and pullovers are used as trucking stops
whose occupants do not enhance
   appearances of bland
      terrain where hungry birds keep constant watch
         for ‘kill’ on which to dine.
            Survival is their prime
               objective in a land devoid of crops.

Tell-tales of heart-break all around
   denote the long-term drought,
      where cattle gnaw at tufts to just survive.
         Dam walls are barren mounds
            and creeks are gouged-out troughs
               as cotton balls of Cumulus blow by.
Resilience and grit is found
   where life is all about
      the struggles faced to simply keep alive.
         Here fortitude abounds
            where fickle Nature scoffs:
               Man stays, though dreams and hopes are doomed to die.

Metallic dinosaurs make link
   to monsters from the past
      and emus roam where skeletons remain.
         A tower tops the view
            of dusty, empty streets –
               a whistle-stop upon a pass-through trail.
A town that hovers on the brink
   in country sparse and vast,
      (potential ghost to dot the parched terrain)
         as tourists pass on through
            and road-train noise competes
               with wind’s unending melancholic wail.

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